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While the shift to the cloud has been happening at lightning speed for businesses and consumers alike, the emphasis on cloud security within the cybersecurity sector has grown exponentially. For example, a recent report found that cloud security spending, in the U.S. alone, will approach $1.93 billion by 2021. This is triple the amount that the U.S. previously spent in 2016. 

Additionally, Merritt Group’s 2018 Marketing and Selling to the CISO report revealed “cloud security” as one of CISOs’ top four security concerns, making it clear that cloud security is a central focus across all industries. In fact, 40 percent of CISOs reported “transitioning to/staying secure in the cloud” as their primary initiative moving forward with security. 

Despite growing awareness surrounding the importance of cloud computing, there are still many misconceptions when it comes to cloud security. We are debunking the top four myths here:

1. Data stored in the cloud is less secure.

The most popular adage when it comes to the cloud is that data stored there is less secure. However, storing data in a virtual cloud environment is not inherently less secure than on-premise infrastructure. In fact, there’s more potential for data protection if security controls are implemented properly.

Today’s cloud standards and security protocols are strict, meaning cloud environments have to measure up against certain policies and guidelines, making them even more secure – in some cases – than legacy on-premise infrastructure. The precaution organizations must take is being aware of access and who’s controlling their data in the cloud. 

The other advantage of storing data in the cloud–as we’ve witnessed with major natural disasters such as the ongoing California wildfires or the recent string of category 5 hurricanes–is that physical data centers and on-premise infrastructure can be destroyed during such events. In these circumstances, using the cloud can minimize risk since data isn’t entirely stored in one location. Even in a worst-case scenario, there are quick and simple data recovery processes.

2. Shifting storage to the cloud is too expensive.

Many believe that shifting storage to the cloud is too costly and not worth the expense. Sure, migration to the cloud is likely to require some upfront spending, but decision-makers should think of the shift as a long-term investment where future costs can gradually decline. 

A majority of cloud security providers understand specific storage needs and can individually tailor charges based on actual use, similar to a “pay-as-you-go” phone plan, instead of a traditional flat-fee model, which helps organizations become more efficient with their resources and capital in the long run. Besides, security, especially as it relates to the cloud, is not the place to pinch pennies in today’s ever-evolving threat landscape.

3. Cloud providers are solely responsible for security.

Once an organization migrates to the cloud, leaders often think that they are secure moving forward because the service provider manages and takes care of everything. However, the cloud is not an “end-all-be-all” solution to security. 

As with any technology, it’s important to have multiple layers of security just in case one, or multiple devices or systems, are compromised. An easy way for organizations to do this is by implementing privileged access management (PAM) for their cloud environments. One of the biggest security vulnerabilities is human complacency. Consequently, filtering who has access to the environment based on training, credentials, and more will better protect organizational data. PAM can also help ensure that cloud security does not remain static, but rather constantly evolves with all of the countless emerging threats and tools made available to address such threats.

4. Regulatory and compliance requirements are more difficult when using the cloud.

The last major myth is that requirements regarding regulatory and compliance issues are more difficult to meet when using the cloud. Compliance is of the utmost importance regardless of the industry, and most cloud hosting environments or platforms already have built-in security features to meet stringent standards. 

For example, security features like intrusion detection systems (IDS) and data-at-rest encryption can help organizations that have to deal with PCI and HIPAA regulations. Plus, in most situations, organizations are already using the cloud to deal with regulatory requirements regarding their HR or CRM applications, whether they’re already aware of it or not.

While these four myths stand out as the most prevalent, there are countless other misconceptions surrounding cloud security. Organizations and users should strive to constantly evaluate information about the cloud and its potential security applications. To start, some helpful resources include research reports from credible industry analyst firms, whitepapers from objective organizations like the Cloud Security Alliance, and academic papers from leading universities.

Want to learn more about cloud security and how it affects your organization? Check out more of Merritt Group’s security blogs or contact us to learn more! 

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